Sunday, March 04, 2007

And the headlines…

I was talking to a friend of mine and came to know that there was a proposal to tax the ESOP’s under the new budget proposal in India. I came home and got down to read the details on an online newspaper.

And there it was; the headlines of the day “Anna’s body flown in to Bahamas”; in bold. I looked around for the budget news and found this “Blair’s love Indian food”. The billion dollar question for the day was quick to find. It was “Abhishek-Ash to marry in Jodhpur? ” Finally I found the much needed topic “India Inc disappointed with Budget”.
It was really annoying. A very important topic like the budget and other finance news are at a corner. You have to really search to find them. News such as “What happened to Britney’s hair” or “Why is restaurant food bad?” is more prominent. I am not saying that nobody in the world is interested in these but, they are definitely not so important compared to the news of ESOP tax or stock market index. And it is not only with this newspaper nor was this the first time. I have faced this situation earlier too. I would want some important info, but will have to search through a maze of junkies. What has a common man got to do with where will Abhishek and Ash get married; unless of course he is invited for the marriage.

I think there is a problem with the way the media thinks and portrays the world to us. They design and tell us what to read and what is important for us. If the editor feels who wore what at the Oscars is more important than which highway is closed due to a car crash, then that is the headlines for the day. If the editor has a personal grudge against a political party or hates a sport, they stop at nothing to bad mouth them. A prominent news channel had predicted that the ruling party would lose the Gujarat state election in India. Even after a year, articles and news bits continue to appear in that newspaper trying to demean that government which won with a clean majority; many a times I have noticed, for no apparent connected reason. What this means is that people who are loyal to one newspaper would be spoon fed to think in the way the editor or the columnists wants them to think. Readers will skip a movie, or, go to a restaurant blindly based on the rating given in their favorite newspaper.

Maybe, blaming the media is not fully correct. The media focuses more on things which are in demand. If the public demand for what Angelina wore in her latest movie is more than how many people died of starvation in a remote country, then Angelina’s dress will be in the headlines. Leave an old copy of a film magazine and a new copy of a science magazine on a park bench and go back after an hour. You will find the film magazine missing but nobody would have even touched the science stuff. How many times have you found yourselves in parties or get together where you discuss about state laws or university education? Most of the time, discussions will revolve around the football team or a favorite show on TV. With this being the case who has the time to read the new laws or the budget highlights I was searching for?

The public accepts what the media gives and the media gives what the public demands. Blaming the entire system for this sorrow state I got back to the news on the Indian budget. It was a lengthy article with some bulleted items. I finished the first paragraph and thought to myself “Maybe the Blair’s might have found Indian food spicy”.


~Narendra V Joshi

2 comments:

Andrews said...

One guy decided what was right and wrong... a million did not know what he was talking about. Decided he probably knew better... and religion was born... Another dude, armed with the “phoren return” tag said being different wasn’t akin to abnormal... fashion was born ... On every such opportunity we as the masses have always convincingly been “those perfect followers”.

The guiding lamp for any following is Status Quo, translated - “ popular assumption”. Once it was non Violence, Now it is self interest. Once it was industry, Now it is the blame game. Point is … we need to know what to follow. Problem today - Too many ideas. The Print Media … as any other responsible social catalyst is going those extra miles to make sure status quo is decided upon. Following the industry wide doctrine of “Smart work” effort is on to make something ... anything …popular.

If popular, it’s simply has to be right.

Aishwarya’s toothache is right. Budget? Sorry, as per latest ethics, they are as big a sin as not knowing how many Husbands has Liz Hurley been blessed with.

But again, I won’t conclude. That would be stupid. There are counter forces on the rise. Bollywood icons are leaving A/C rooms for social agitation. Movies are trying to be motivational within the scope of reality... playing the market is becoming a fad at a much earlier age... and more than one batsman can Bat fearlessly in the Indian team... the future might be …different … till then...”Oh fellow Indians with soft corner for the FM’s efforts… patience … this too shall pass….”

idledays said...

dijo here narendra...remember me...good one...rather unfortunately so
alwez faced the same situation...
abt a fortnight ago there was this half page article on how arun nayars 11 beat liz hurleys 11 in a cric match tht they played with tennis balls at 9 in the night at some palace in rajasthan...sad to sacrifice half a page for such trivial, inconsequential stupidity...
but what i felt more sad about was that almost all read this piece of intellectual trivia and never bothered to read the real news...
media i believe has already entered into an era where they dictate what is "real news" and we might be those throwbacks to ancient times who still read budget and poverty and the bad things...
hoping against all hope for a media revival...